At rally, Trump accuses New York Times of 'treason'

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By Jonathan Allen  with NBC News Politics
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump is interviewed before the start of a rally in Billings, Mont., on Sept. 6, 2018.   -   Copyright  Susan Walsh AP

BILLINGS, Mont. — President Donald Trump on Thursday accused The New York Times of "virtually" committing "treason" by publishing an opinion piece in which a senior administration official wrote that many of Trump's aides are "working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations."

In the interview with "Fox and Friends," conducted in front of an audience gathered for a Trump rally here and set to air Friday morning, the president blamed the paper.

"Number one, The Times should never have done that," he said. "What they've done, virtually it's treason."

Treason, as defined by the Constitution, involves waging war against the United States or providing aid and comfort to its enemies.

Trump, whom aides and allies have described as "volcanic" in the hours after publication of the op-ed, was clearly still frustrated on Thursday. The anonymous opinion piece is different from books the White House has tried to fight back against, including those by Bob Woodward and Omarosa Manigault-Newman, because there's no one to attack personally.

"When somebody writes and you can't discredit because you have no idea who they are," he said. "It may not be a Republican, it may not be a conservative, it may be a deep state person that's been there a long time."

Moreover, he said, "it's a very unfair thing" to "our country and to the millions of people who voted really for us."